How to grow your own cannabis without courting trouble

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By Adolfo Gonzalez

In this article, I will make the case that you do not really need to buy anything special to grow cannabis at home as long as you are doing it in small quantities. This may shock you, but cannabis, despite popular belief, grows just like any other plant.

The myth around the nuclearlike destructive capacity of this leafy shrub is due to the fact that many people in the past have chosen to grow large amounts of cannabis in spaces not built for this purpose, using large lights and ballasts that can be a fire hazard if not set up correctly. Mould, fire damage…Yes, that can happen, but only when home growing is done incorrectly and at scales that are not suited for this setting. Here are some tips that will help you get going in the right direction.

 

1. Keep it legal

If you have a medical licence, ensure that you keep your plant count within your limits, and remember that recreational users can only keep four plants (at any stage of growth) in their home at one time. Getting clones or seeds from a friend is legal if they’re given for free, but you are not allowed to buy clones or seeds except from registered sources. Also keep in mind that if you live in a condo, you will need to check with your strata, because it is illegal to grow in a space where a governing body has voted to prohibit nonmedical personal production.

2. Avoid using lights whenever possible

Lights are expensive to buy and run. If you are growing only four plants or other small amounts, more often than not you can get away with growing on a porch or in a backyard during summer and/or indoors by a window with some supplementary lighting during the winter. This low-cost option becomes far more productive using modern Cannabis ruderalis hybrids—often referred to as “auto” strains—that provide more frequent and consistent low-maintenance crops.

3. Buy the right gear

If your place doesn’t get enough natural light, then grow lights will be your only choice. Consider using a combination of LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) grow bulbs for small home setups. This will provide higher power efficiency, lower heat production, and lower fire risks than conventional grow bulbs. A tent is a must if you are growing more than four plants (or if you are not growing auto strains) in order to control excess moisture and keep precise control over light cycles.

4. Choose soil

How many times have you decided to buy a hydroponic system to grow your tomatoes at home? Why would we pick an option that requires buying and adding precise amounts of expensive liquid nutrients? Most people would never do that, so why does cannabis have to be any different? Soil is the most forgiving medium the novice grower can choose. Opt for a simple potting soil mixed with some compost and perhaps a few natural additives like bat guano and seaweed fertilizer. For a more detailed soil recipe, look up Subcool’s super soil recipe; he is one of the early promoters of this method. You will find that a good soil mix gets better over time and does not require throwing out the medium after each cycle. You can also get away with feeding your plant only water for the entirety of its life using this method. This means lower costs, lower maintenance, and the additional benefit of having a more flavourful, organic, and sustainably grown crop at the end of each harvest. Yum!

Adolfo Gonzalez is cofounder of CannaReps.

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